Since I was a teen, I have always been a staunch supporter of young people. Adolescents have not been given enough credit for being the smart, creative, and forward thinking individuals that they are. The media tends to publish only the negative behaviors of a small group of teenagers, thus perpetuating the notion that most teenagers do bad things. At Be the Star You Are! and Express Yourself!, we intend to change that image.
In 1999, I founded a charity to improve literacy and positive messages around the world. With the help of the Internet, volunteers around the world have been part of our grassroots movements as well as Operation Disaster Relief programs. We have people in China, Argentina, the Middle East, Africa, England, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Sweden, and throughout the United States participating in our numerous outreach projects. Find us at www.BetheStarYouAre.org.
In addition, technology helped me and a group of teens launch an online creative community where youth around the globe could express themselves through writing, poetry, videos, art, music, and more. We named the site “Express Yourself!” because that was the goal-to allow the young at heart to be heard.
A few months after this site was launched, I was approached by the network director for Voice America Kids asking me to create and produce a radio program for, by, and with teens. It took a few months of pre-production and on November 22, 2011 we launched our first show of with two teen hosts and two field reporters. By March of 2012, Express Yourself! was the #1 young adult program on the network in the world. In less than a year, with the involvement of teens around the United States, we have grown our broadcast to 192 countries and our teens have interviewed guests from all different locations around the globe. Our family of On-Air Stars has grown to fifteen and as we continue to thrive.
There are so many exciting opportunities for teens online. Currently teens can enter our 9th National Essay Contest that awards prizes including money, publication, books, radio interviews and more, made possible by the dream of global technology. Teens can also volunteer for Letters for Literacy or get involved in a lot of other creative programs.
All of the teen volunteers of Be the Star You Are! program are completely supported by donations. The teens have recently launched Club Be The Star You Are (BTSYA) at high schools as another way to give youth a voice and a direction to follow their dreams.
We want to hear from young people because we want them to excel and feel valuable. Visit us at http://www.BTSYA.org and http://www.ExpressYourselfTeenRadio.com. We welcome ideas, thoughts, and contributions. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or info@BetheStarYouAre.org. Stay tuned to our Express Yourself! blog where our teens will be talking so the world can listen.